Study Journalism in The Heart of NYC

Study Journalism in The Heart of NYC


Ford Foundation

Program Officer

Post Date:Jun 15, 2021Type:Full time
Start Date:Salary:Minimum salary: US $145,000
Location: United States - New York - New York Job Reference:
Job Description:




Ford Foundation seeks a Program Officer (PO) to help shape and advance the Foundation’s work at the intersection of journalism, media  and social justice. Working as a member of the Creativity and Free Expression (CFE) team and under the management guidance of the CFE director, this PO works collaboratively with other team members to develop and implement program strategies to achieve significant and scalable impact. The PO assesses and analyzes the field of investigative journalism and media to identify its key ecosystems and work with various actors to shape and influence agendas to address diagnosed problems and opportunities. They are expected to share substantive knowledge with Foundation colleagues and collaborate broadly across the program division. In addition, they also serve as a ‘connector’ of grantees, and work with practitioners, government officials, scholars, NGO and corporate sector leaders, and other donors on issues of common concern to leverage positive impact toward common goals. This job is based in our New York office.      


An ideal candidate is an organized self-starter with high emotional intelligence and ability to work with many kinds of people. They display the qualities of a curious, life-long learner and are open to new ideas and ways of working. They demonstrate a passion for social justice and reducing inequities with cultural awareness and sensitivity to differences and disadvantages. They also demonstrate a commitment to fiscal stewardship in grant making and administrative activities.



Ford Foundation is focused on challenging inequality in all its forms. This goal is reflected in all of the Foundation’s program areas, and in all of the regions and places where it works. The work of Creativity and Free Expression (CFE) explores how cultural narratives affect and shape contemporary reality, and how the arts, journalism, and documentary film can contribute to fairer and more just societies. The CFE team seeks to elevate voices that have been marginalized, distorted, or ignored. In addition, it supports the organizations and networks that best sustain a just and equitable arts, film, and journalism sector and that enable these fields to thrive.          


Program Officers (PO) are the primary staff members responsible for the development of grant portfolios and all related activities, based on the strategies and approaches defined in the foundation’s thematic areas and regional context.  The Journalism and Media PO will support the media and journalism funding under the CFE strategy and will develop the Foundation’s grant recommendations, establish and implement a monitoring and evaluation framework, and ensure shared learning across programmatic teams. The PO will play a leading role in shaping specific grant activities, ensuring all activities are designed to deliver the goals of the CFE thematic strategy. 


The Foundation’s current goal for its work in the field is to empower journalists, news organizations, and networks. In keeping with its commitment to challenge inequality , the Foundation is executing an integrated multifaceted strategy that prioritizes equity across the production and leadership of media and journalism organizations and networks.  CFE carries out its work through grant-making; support for programs and convenings for the field; and research and learning.



The Program Officer should be dedicated to social justice and must also be able to thrive within a large institution with internal demands and address organizational responsibilities with the same amount of care as those in the external field. He or she will have strong relationship management skills and organizational processing skills to manage a large volume of grants and constituent correspondence and advocacy; the ability to prioritize, write and communicate clearly and project manage are crucial. Additional responsibilities include:

  • Contribute to the development of team strategies, working toward team goals; continuously review for relevancy and contribute ongoing analysis of strategies for achieving significant and scalable impact.

  • Develop grant making activities in a team-oriented context that are aligned to the strategic goals of CFE.

  • Manage a grants portfolio, including annual grant planning, undertaking periodic reviews of progress with grantees, performing grantee site visits, reviewing financial and narrative reporting from grantees, and reviewing and approving grant status reports.

  • Work with the Foundation’s grantees to develop proposals for grant recommendations, determine the goals for a grant, its activities, expected results, indicators of success and budget. Conduct grantee site visits (when feasible) as part of the grantee due diligence process and prepare an organizational assessment on the health of potential grantees.

  • Manage, monitor, and coordinate grant making activities through the grant life cycle, providing clarity and direction to Program Assistants and Grant Managers as needed, to advance the goals of CFE.

  • Develop and implement grantee convenings relevant to review opportunities, challenges and advances.

  • Recommend and participate in learning and evaluation activities to guide the evolution of programmatic work.

  • Report regularly on the progress of the strategies including planned activities and emerging impacts.

  • With guidance from the Director, represent the Foundation and its work to the government, media, academic, business, philanthropic, and civic leaders through meetings, updates, speeches, briefings and interviews.

  • Demonstrate outstanding professional relations with colleagues across the organization and with external constituents, serving as a substantive and reputational ambassador for the Foundation and CFE.

  • Collaborate with peers, Directors and Officers of the Foundation to promote learning, exchange and strategic partnership. Learn from and collaborate with key stakeholders inside and outside the Foundation.

  • Serve as direct co-manager, mentor and coach to Program Assistant.



  • BA/BS (or equivalent combination of education and experience) in relevant field of study plus a minimum of 8 years’ experience in journalism and/or Journalism philanthropy in a role that manages high volume people interactions and administrative processing, preferably in a global context

  • Preferably experience working in investigative journalism that fosters a just world

  • Experience and understanding of emerging forms of virtual or hybrid media platforms    

  • Deep understanding of social justice and geopolitical landscape in the United States and in developing countries

  • Fluency in English; Fluency in Spanish a plus

  • Exceptional leadership presence – internally and externally

  • Exceptional communications skills – strong active listening skills, constructive verbal and written skills, strong public presentation skills

  • Experience in producing research reports on media a plus

  • Demonstrated ability to be a productive member of a community of people at work, respecting differences while working toward shared goals, comfort with periods of ambiguity, constructive participation in ongoing organizational development



This position is primarily a sedentary role. However, the person in this position may need to occasionally move about inside the office to liaise with internal staff, access files, office machinery and a copy machine/printer. Additionally, domestic/international travel will be expected once the travel restrictions are lifted and it is safe to travel again, approximately 20%, mostly for grants related work, but also to attend team conferences, retreats and meetings. Given that we work across different time zones, some non-traditional hours for early or late calls are an occasional expectation of this role.


The Ford Foundation is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its programs, and operations. As part of this commitment, the Foundation will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations. If a reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application process, please contact or call (212) 573-4627.


Alignment to Culture and Values

  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and core values of equity, openness, collaboration, trust, accountability and urgency

  • Personal qualities of humility, capacity for self-reflection, and a sense of humor

  • Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues

  • Action-orientated and entrepreneurial self-starter who can work well independently and in teams



  • Medical and dental benefits for employee and immediate family on first day of work

  • Retirement savings account with matching company contributions of up to 13%

  • Three weeks’ paid vacation in first year of work; four weeks in subsequent years 

  • Tuition Reimbursement

  • Office closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day

  • Professional development initiatives for growth

  • Generous parental leave (maternal and paternal) during new child’s first year (born into family or adopted)


Equal employment opportunity and having a diverse staff are fundamental principles at The Ford Foundation, where employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation/affectional preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law.  

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Contact Information
Ford Foundation
Krystin Falcone
320 East 43rd Street
New York, NY 10017
United States

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